​Three new startups planned, based on Ohio State research

Teams participated in second year of I-Corps@Ohio

By: Jeff Grabmeier

Published on October 21, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Three faculty-led teams from The Ohio State University have decided to create startup companies based on research they have developed at the university.

The teams made the decision after successfully completing the 2016 I-Corps@Ohio program. The seven-week program aims to help selected faculty and student teams determine if their intellectual property – such as a new technology – could be the basis of a startup company.

The Ohio State teams were among 23 selected from 12 universities and other institutions in the state to participate in the second round of the program.

I-Corps@Ohio is modeled after a similar program launched by the National Science Foundation in 2012. It is funded and supported by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

During the program, which was held this summer in Columbus, the faculty and student teams worked with mentors and other instructors to develop their ideas and determine if they were commercially feasible.

Michael Camp, program director of I-Corps@Ohio, is founder and executive director of The Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) Institute at Ohio State.

“The Ohio State teams, as well as their counterparts from other institutions, showed they have what it takes to validate their ideas and form a successful startup,” Camp said.

“We want them to take what they learned and create the modern companies that will help propel the Ohio economy in the coming decades.”

The three Ohio State teams were in the IME cohort (information technology, materials and energy and environment). These teams were:

Live Focus, led by Yi Zhao, associate professor of biomedical engineering. This team is developing a technology that will allow the use of smartphones to acquire microscopic images with quality comparable to mid-class commercial microscopes.

EnergyEne, led by Katrina Cornish, Endowed Chair and Ohio Research Scholar, Bioemergent Materials, in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, and the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Cornish’s team is producing a non-allergenic, high-performance natural rubber alternative.

Bio-Pioneers, led by Thaddeus Ezeji, associate professor of animal science, and Victor Ujor, assistant professor in the Renewable Energy Program at the Agricultural Technical Institute. They are producing industrial compounds from renewable resources.

Two other Ohio State teams successfully completed the I-Corps@Ohio program and have decided to continue testing the commercial feasibility of their technology.

One of those teams was Encapro, led by Jon Parquette, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Robert Tabita, Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of microbiology and of molecular genetics. They are working on technology involving immobilization of biomolecules by self-assembled nanostructures.

The other Ohio State team was T-regulators, led by Mireia Guerau, assistant professor of health and rehabilitation sciences. This team is developing a drug to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. T-regulators was in the Medtech cohort, which involves potential startups in biotech, medical devices, diagnostics and theraputics. This cohort was a pilot partnership between I-Corps@Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic and the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Accelerated Innovations.


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Jeff Grabmeier
614-292-8457 | Email

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